You might recall, a few weeks back, I wrote about Tim and I exploring part of something called the Ted Sperling Nature Park up in Sarasota. The part that we walked that day was the Mangrove Tunnel. And it was very cool with fiddler crabs and well, the spooky Mangroves. But we knew that eventually we would return to do the rest of the hike.
That is where we headed on Sunday. The remainder of the hike lay within the confines of South Lido Park which in turn is a terrific place! First of all, can you say, "Free Parking"? It is a rarity in a lot of beach areas and very much appreciated. Also there was a very large, very nice, very clean public bathroom. Yay for that. There was a lot of different beach access points, big yay there, picnic tables grills and secured garbage cans and a nice looking playpark for kiddos.
It's hard to describe this area. This particular part of Sarasota is it's own island or Key (or Cay it's sometimes spelled) and has the famous (or infamous perhaps) St. Armands' Circle with it's wonderful shops and restaurants. There are big fancy schmancy homes and lots of condos and vacation rentals, a beautiful beach which we already were familiar with. But we had no idea this beautiful nature park was stuffed into this little space as well! Who knew? Not us. South Lido Park and the nature trail are on the outside edge that has both beach and wooded area. Here's a birdseye view:
We were obviously not walking by the condos and hotels. Nope we were hiking around the other side.
It's a popular place, particular with locals who were picnicking and listening to music and sometimes literally dancing on the sand. Kids were having a game of catch or splashing in the water or napping in hammocks strung between trees. It was a happy place. And part of it is bay rather than gulf, certain kinds of boats and jet skies can drive right up to their chosen picnic spot!
Looks like a party to me :) There were the boats and jetskis in the water, but there were also kayakers and paddle boarders. A nice variety of ways to be in the water, other than swimming I mean.
But we primarily stayed on the trails. They were nicely maintained with spots of both sun and shade and occasional little offshoots that take you back to the beach just a little farther away from the crowd. We checked out all of the trails including one with a board walk that crossed some sort of very shallow tributary. There seemed to be a little bit of everything.
We saw a lot of butterflies. I managed to get photos of a few:
There were a lot of flowers and other interesting plants:
Probably the most exciting part of the day was when Tim rescued a jelly fish! We saw quite a few small jellies floating about at the water's edge. The best we can guess is that the wake of a passing boat or jet ski might have pushed the poor little jelly fish up onto the sand and he couldn't get back to the water. Poor thing. Tim found a stick and carefully kind of rolled it over and over back into the water where it it immediately bloomed. Then bobbed and floated back out with the rest of it's crew! Tim Humphreys, hero to jellyfish!
There were birds everywhere but most of them just hid in the thickets and high in the trees surrounding us. We could hear them but only saw them if one of the suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, zoomed by us. I did however, get a few sea birds by the water who either aren't quite as camera shy or just don't care.
It was a short hike, only about 2 miles long, but we enjoyed it. I hope you did too :)
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.